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Q's Legacy (1985)

por Helene Hanff

MiembrosReseñasPopularidadValoración promediaConversaciones / Menciones
8193023,006 (3.99)1 / 135
This memoir tells the remarkable story of how Helene Hanff came to write 84, Charing Cross Road, and how its success changed her. Hanff recalls her serendipitous discovery of a volume of lectures by a Cambridge don, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. She devoured Q's book, and, wanting to read all the books he recommended, began to order them from a small store in London at 84, Charing Cross Road. Thus began a correspondence that became an enormously popular book, play, television production, and movie, and that finally led to the trip to England -- and a visit to Q's study -- that she recounts in this exuberant memoir. Hanff pays her debt to her mentor and shares her joyous adventures with her many fans. "Reading Helene Hanff's book is like making a new friend -- a charming, wise, and funny one." -- Betty Rollin "A potpourri . . . easy and assured . . . A delightful companion for the odd hour." -- San Francisco Chronicle "Hanff's charm is such that when she exults . . . we exult right along with her." -- Kirkus Reviews… (más)
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This is a great compaion piece to 84, Charing Cross Road. The pick's up with Hannff's life after the book and chronicles her trip to London. I love her writing style, funny fast paced.

This is a bit from the section after her eye surgery.
There was, for instance, the beautiful brown-and-white collie who came toward me one day in the park and who, as I stooped to pet him, turned into a brown suitcase in a man's white-cuffed hand. And there was the lovely Saturday afternoon when I was sailing insouciantly down Fifth Avenue and saw ahead of me a large pink banner streaming down the familiar steps of St. Thomas's church. St. Thomas's has wonderful choral concerts and I hoped the banner was advertising one of them, as the crowd at the side of the steps seemed to indicate. The crowd blocked my way and I detoured around it and down to the curb — just as a limousine door opened and a misty white bride walked into me. That's when I saw that the large pink banner had turned into six pink bridesmaids lined up in formation on the church steps.



If you liked 84, Charing Cross Road you really should give this one a try. ( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
This book is the perfect companion piece to 84, Charing Cross Road, as it picks up on what happen to Hanaff after the success of her book. It was also really funny in parts like on her exam for a scholarship she had labeled the Pacific Ocean as Africa and then after her eye surgery


There was, for instance, the beautiful brown-and-white collie who came toward me one day in the park and who, as I stooped to pet him, turned into a brown suitcase in a man's white-cuffed hand. And there was the lovely Saturday afternoon when I was sailing insouciantly down Fifth Avenue and saw ahead of me a large pink banner streaming down the familiar steps of St. Thomas's church. St. Thomas's has wonderful choral concerts and I hoped the banner was advertising one of them, as the crowd at the side of the steps seemed to indicate. The crowd blocked my way and I detoured around it and down to the curb — just as a limousine door opened and a misty white bride walked into me. That's when I saw that the large pink banner had turned into six pink bridesmaids lined up in formation on the church steps.




It's just a great story about a writer who struggled most of her life then the rewards as she neared old age. ( )
  kevn57 | Dec 8, 2021 |
Just like [84, Charing Cross Road], Q's Legacy is an endearing memoir. This one is about how Helene Hanff learned to be a writer. "Q" is the Cambridge lecturer whose book she chooses one day at the library. She says: He spoke a language I could understand, and he had a sense of humour, which all by itself set him apart from the rest of the professors I'd been reading all morning. And he was Oxford-and-Cambridge. I decided I could study with him without necessarily agreeing with everything he said. Eventually, she acquired all his lectures.
She does a great job of showing how much work it really is to write a book, let alone one that will sell. I loved that she was self-taught - through reading lectures and the books that were referenced in the lectures. Her sense of humor shines throughout the book. A truly lovely read that makes me wonder why it sat on my shelves for so long.

If I live to be very old, all my memories of the glory days will grow vague and confused, till I won't be certain any of it really happened. But the books will be there, on my shelves and in my head - the one enduring reality I can be certain of till the day I die. ( )
  nittnut | Aug 31, 2018 |
I love [84 Charing Cross Road] and for a long time have been wanting to read this book about the "legacy" of the books Hanff read by a literature professor that in a round about way prompted the writing of 84. I never quite got wrapped up in Hanff's world and her life in this volume, perhaps because this book is more about television and theater than it is about books and reading. Certainly not a bad read (and probably *much* more interesting to someone into television and theater in the way that I am into books) but without the charm of 84. ( )
  lycomayflower | Jan 31, 2018 |
This seems to be the least-loved of Hanff's books. Readers apparently expect another book full of dated entries, be they letters or diary entries, and are nonplussed by this fairly straightforward narrative.

I think Q rounds out her other books very well exactly because it's more conventional in structure. 84, Charing Cross Road is the book that makes readers fall in love with Hanff's voice. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street makes those fans cheer, because (spoiler alert!) she finally gets to go to England. And Q's Legacy is the closest Hanff comes to fulfilling her fans' natural curiosity about her life and background.

Hanff keeps her cards pretty close to her vest, even when she finally tells us a bit about herself. There's nothing about her parents or her childhood here – the book starts when she's 18 – and the closest she comes to any mention of romance is admitting that she "hankered after" one of her teachers at the business school she attended after high school. As soon as her classmates learned of this crush,

they went to work devising ploys to get him for me. The best was Rita's. She got up in Business English class and suggested that after every Friday's English test, Mr. Smoter award a kiss to whoever got the best score. She made him stick to this award for the rest of the 90 days. Which was one reason why I had such a good time in that school I was almost sorry when the course ended.

Note that "almost." If you know anything about Helene Hanff, you'll know that business school and the sort of future it promised were a horrible fit for her. Instead of going on to be a secretary, Hanff became an autodidact: reading at night and picking up work she could do at home by day. (She considered office work as bad as prison, if not worse.) She also began writing "bad plays." "They specialized in plotless charm," she explains, and that's probably accurate – because if it didn't sound so mean, one could say that's a perfect description of the writing that made Hanff famous.

And yet we love it. Maybe you can get away with a minimum of plot, if you're charming enough.

Q's Legacy begins long before the events of 84, and closes long after Duchess. It stretches into Hanff's old age, including a terrifyingly funny encounter with cataract surgery. (Hint: If an eye surgeon says you won't be able to read for a month after the operation, he doesn't mean reading will give you a headache or tire you out. He means you won't be able to see printed letters. Or printed anything. Yikes. Hanff learned this when she tried to take the elevator and "confronted a double row of buttons which no longer had floor numbers on them." Only Helene Hanff could make a month of this sort of blindness funny and fun to read about.)

If you're looking for a weekend of pleasure, get your hands on all three of her books and read them in order of publication. Then cuss me out for making you think you'd need a whole weekend to read these slim, joyful works. You will if you take frequent breaks to make tea and fresh scones, which you'll be in the mood for after reading so much about England.

(Let me know if you need a recipe for scones, btw. I've been told mine rival any you can get in England, possibly because the English don't understand the magic of miniature chocolate chips.) ( )
1 vota Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
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Q and I first met on a summer morning when I was eighteen, at the main branch of the Philadelphia Public Library where I'd gone in search of a teacher; and I took him home with me despite certain doubts about his fitness for the post.
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This memoir tells the remarkable story of how Helene Hanff came to write 84, Charing Cross Road, and how its success changed her. Hanff recalls her serendipitous discovery of a volume of lectures by a Cambridge don, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. She devoured Q's book, and, wanting to read all the books he recommended, began to order them from a small store in London at 84, Charing Cross Road. Thus began a correspondence that became an enormously popular book, play, television production, and movie, and that finally led to the trip to England -- and a visit to Q's study -- that she recounts in this exuberant memoir. Hanff pays her debt to her mentor and shares her joyous adventures with her many fans. "Reading Helene Hanff's book is like making a new friend -- a charming, wise, and funny one." -- Betty Rollin "A potpourri . . . easy and assured . . . A delightful companion for the odd hour." -- San Francisco Chronicle "Hanff's charm is such that when she exults . . . we exult right along with her." -- Kirkus Reviews

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